With an eye on 2019 Assembly polls, Devendra Fadnavis rolls out big ticket metro and rail projects

Maharashtra CM is banking on Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor to help BJP win votes in other urban pockets of Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati and Nagpur.

 |  3-minute read |   28-10-2017
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Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ confidence is at its peak as he completes three years in office on October 31. In the past two years, his focus was on agriculture and social sectors. In the remaining two years, his thrust will be on developing the urban infrastructure.

Fadnavis has given priority to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) which constitutes 63 of the 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra. With an announcement of a vast network of the metro lines from Colaba in south Mumbai to Kalyan, the extended central suburb, Fadnavis has tried to give some relief to the community of daily commuters.

“In the last 70 years, the railway network has been developed to take care of 70 lakh daily commuters. Once all the metro lines are completed in five years, they will take care of 90 lakh daily commuters. The number of employees in the metro network will be 2.5 lakh, biggest in any local establishment,” Fadnavis told Mail Today.

He plans to start the first metro line between Colaba and SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone) in 2019 before the state goes for the Assembly election. It will be Mumbai’s second after the one between Ghatkopar and Versova.


“We will start one metro line every year from 2019 to 2022,” Fadnavis said. He believes that his pet project, Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor will help the BJP garner votes in other urban pockets of Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati and Nagpur. The proposed 710km corridor passes through 10 districts and 57 Assembly segments. However, obstacles in land acquisition because of stiff opposition from farmers have delayed the project. The state government has already missed the deadline of October 1 to start the project.

The new deadline is January 6, 2018. Fadnavis has opened two fronts to disseminate the usefulness of Samruddhi Corridor. First, he has announced heavy compensation for the land acquisition. Second, he is increasing his rapport with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar who once was very vocal against the corridor. “I like one thing about Sharad Pawar,” Fadnavis said. “He never opposes development works.”

The result of political manoeuvring is visible. Pawar has almost withdrawn from the opposition to the project. The road block is not yet clear though. Fadnavis has claimed that the farmers will sell their lands soon for the project but it might be an overstatement as there is little progress on the front.

He has signed an agreement with the government of South Korea for providing debt of Rs 22,000 crore. “The work is going on in full swing. I am sure the road will be built in two years,” Fadnavis said. The urban pockets have been strongholds of the BJP. In recent time, it has managed to make inroad in the rural areas too. Fadnavis is trying to bridge the gap between the urban and the rural segments. It will be interesting to see whether he succeeds in it in the near future.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

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Kiran Tare Kiran Tare @kirantare

The writer is senior associate editor, India Today.

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